After hearing the horrifying details of a multiple murder from a surviving witness, jurors on Wednesday viewed video footage of Edgar Tiedemann's trailer with two bloody bodies inside.
A video taken by West Valley police just after the November 1991 shooting showed the body of 31-year-old Susan Sessions lying on the living room floor, covered in bloody sheets and blankets. Jurors looked on as the camera went down the hall, focusing briefly on a mason jar filled with a strange, greenish, opaque liquid, before turning into a bedroom to show the body of 43-year-old Charles Timberman.
Two state medical examiners testified that Sessions died from a single gunshot wound to the eye where the bullet went through her brain. Timberman was shot three times, one wound was fatal when it pierced his lung and aorta.
Sessions' 14-year-old son, Scott Bunnell, was also shot at least two times, medical examiners said, leaving the teen paralyzed. Tiedemann's defense team successfully argued against allowing the jury to hear that over the next 10 years, Bunnell died a slow, painful, wasting death. His body was found in a trailer in his own waste in 2001, having suffered malnutrition and wasting. Defense attorneys argued Bunnell's slow painful death, while tragic, had nothing to do with the murder case.
Tiedemann had invited his friends to stay in his West Valley City trailer as they were moving to Arizona. Prosecutors claim Tiedemann, 45, at the time, shot Susan Sessions after she rejected his advances. He then shot her son and went into the bedroom where Sessions' sister, Debra Pryor, and her boyfriend, Timberman, were sleeping and shot Timberman.
On Tuesday, Pryor testified that her boyfriend urged her to play dead, which she did for several hours as Timberman died next to her. Tiedemann was known to have a habit of sniffing paint thinner and glue.
Pryor said Tiedemann caught her faking and she only survived by offering to take him to her drug dealer to get cocaine. When she got there, she told her friend to call police.
The case has spanned more than 17 years. Initially after being charged, Tiedemann was found mentally incompetent to stand trial and was committed to the state mental hospital. But in 2002, the hospital released Tiedemann due to budget constraints, forcing prosecutors to re-file murder charges. He is charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder and one count of second-degree attempted murder.
Although much of the physical evidence was destroyed after he was committed, prosecutors say they feel they have a strong case against Tiedemann.
Defense attorneys have argued that there is little to show that Tiedemann was the actual shooter and said Pryor also tested positive for gunpowder residue. On cross-examination, state medical examiners said while blood tests showed no signs of drugs, crystals in the lung tissues of Sessions and Timberman indicated both had a history of intravenous drug use.Defense attorneys said Tiedemann is expected to take the witness stand Thursday morning in his own defense.
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